Mumbition The Podcast

Space For Your WorkLife

With three small kids in tow Kate Dezarnaulds took the plunge and made the move to a ‘simpler life’ in regional NSW and has gone on to discover community and connection at the same time as building a successful co-working space business WorkLife that aims to create beautiful and efficient workspaces for clever, generous and creative professionals so that people are inspired to escape the grind of the city, better balance life and work in thriving regional towns.

4 minutes
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“I'm Kate. I'm the founder of WorkLife, which is a network of regional co-working spaces. My story is that in back in 2017, I had done the big tree change to Berry on the South Coast with my three little kids, and I was driving backwards and forwards just a ridiculous number of times from Berry back to the city in my role as a fundraising consultant for festivals and events and not-for-profit organisations.

And I was just one of those people that was incredibly productive when I was in any sort of a shared space, but in my beautiful home office that my husband built for me, I was eternally distracted. And I just really thought that the problem that I was having on focusing and on getting stuff done and on kind of, you know, being the best version of my professional self, I really wasn't doing at home. And so I went scratching around for a few people facing similar challenges in our little town and decided to set sail on a co-working business and that was yeah that was seven years ago now and it's been a bumpy ride but like lots of people I feel like what I'm doing now is a is an unusual and kind of perfect answer to lots of different kind of detours along the way.”

How has that journey away from a metro area shaped your relationship with business risk? 

“I think setting sail on your own business is a moment that either comes because you spot a gap in the market or it comes because you've bought somebody else's business or it comes because you just have to be your own boss. And in my instance, working in a regional location, I really needed to be able to invent a job that was going to pay me as much money as I'd been earning in the city.

I definitely spotted a gap in the market, the sort of co-working spaces and co-working communities that were really taking off in Sydney that I loved being a part of, just didn't exist in the regions yet. So it was a combination of necessity and kind of opportunism. And what being in a regional area kind of teaches you to do is to cobble together an income from a number of different sources. So you have to be flexible, you have to be agile, you have to be willing to take a punt.

The reality is in regional and communities, particularly ones which have got lots of small businesses and lots of family businesses and lots of farming enterprises, you're surrounded by entrepreneurial types. I mean, there are no bigger punters in the world than farmers as far as I'm concerned. So the energy is infectious and the reality is that if you're trying to make stitch and income together, then you're gonna have to be a bit agile and you're gonna have to be a bit creative and you're gonna have to be a bit flexible. And that's been a white knuckle ride at various points, but it's been exciting. it really has.”

Could you describe the shape of a good life for you?

“The shape of a good life for me is the one where saying yes to fun things is, you know, is the first thing. So I honestly, I'm like, ‘we're here for a good time, not a long time’, and I am chasing joy. So, I've got to get enough joy out of my work for it to justify the number of hours away from my family every day. I've got to make sure that the time that I spend with my kids and with my family is, is having adventures and doing great things. 

I need to see plenty of my friends to be able to, satisfy my curiosity and  let loose a little bit and whenever I feel like I'm really out of whack, it's when I actually have lost the fun things in the day and to have fun you have to be not stressed. As soon as you get stressed and stretched then fun feels really hard to prioritise. 

I've got a bit of a barometer of how much fun is happening every week and choose joy and make sure there's enough time in green spaces and good sleep, like god good sleep if ever that falls off the wagon then things start kind of unraveling pretty quickly and I always find animals are just at the best tell of whether or not your energy that you're sending out into the world is kind of hostile or welcoming so yeah my horse will dump me on I kind of go for a ride without having reset and yeah, settled myself before I set off. “

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